The reverse mortgage industry has long been known for its TV commercials. In fact, an Ohio State study released last year revealed that just under half of surveyed reverse mortgage borrowers heard about the loan from a TV ad.
But in today’s digital world, will traditional marketing strategies give way to Internet campaigns as lenders work to reach an increasingly tech-savvy base of senior consumers? Some reverse marketing pros say no.
Teague McGrath, chief marketing officer at AAG, says TV still reigns supreme for the lender.
“From our perspective, TV has always been the dominant channel for leads and provides this umbrella of awareness for AAG and for reverse mortgages,” he says. “We do surveys and no one has ever said to us, ‘Oh, I saw your banner ad on that website.’ They all say, ‘I talked to AAG because of the television commercials,’” he says. “That is how most consumers are initially made aware of us.”
But while McGrath says the lender’s TV ads are the “primary driver” for leads, he does consider other media valuable. “We do supplement that campaign through other channels that help us support our TV ads.”
While TV campaigns may spark a consumer’s initial interest, the digital component is important because nowadays, consumers often go online to learn more. This is where a lender’s Internet presence counts.
Tom Evans, VP of marketing at Finance of America Reverse, says digital marketing is a great way to connect with consumers who want to research the loan independently.
“The Internet is a great mechanism for educating the consumer. If I think I know what a reverse mortgage is and I’m not interested in being on a phone call with someone pressuring me to buy something, the Internet is my playground,” he says. “I can find everything I need without talking to someone.”
Evans says one bonus about a digital campaign is that it can allow you to collect a consumer’s contact information so that you can stay in touch with them throughout the process.
“It allows you to nurture them in a variety of different ways over time. You can use social media to reach out to people you’ve already made contact with, you can use email drip, you can even use phone calls from non-sales-based personnel to say, ‘Hey, I want to make sure you got all the information you requested,’” he says.
“All of our advertising strategies are about making a lasting connection with a consumer. They are all good in doing that, but the digital strategy does give you a little more flexibility to guide them through the process.”
Still, Evans says FAR continues to utilize traditional marketing strategies in addition to its digital campaign. Online marketing, he says, has become just one more way to reach consumers, who are increasingly selective about how they want to get their information.
“Some folks absolutely do not want to talk to anyone, they just want to learn as much as they can before they make any decisions. On the flip side of that are people who don’t even want to talk to someone on the phone, they want to have that face- to-face engagement; they want to talk to someone they feel they can build trust with,” Evans says. “It’s so amazing how varied the rainbow of purchasers is, there are so many ways people look for information and for products, and as a marketer you have to figure out how to taste the rainbow—to steal a good marketing slogan.”
Written by Jessica Guerin